||Mary Alice Bennett is an archaeological restoration artist who lives in the Sonoran desert near the border with Mexico. As an art history student, she has had a life-long fascination with Leonardo DaVinci and also with studying the ancient mysteries. Since her church has a long tradition about Jesus and Mary Magdalene, the Dan Brown book was not new information to her. "The DaVinci Code" aside, here are more clues in the work of Leonardo to ponder. Email Mary Alice Bennett.
"The Sauniere Mystery Continues
- A Message in a Bottle"by Mary Alice Bennett
Posted: 11:30 May 29, 2008
The newly discovered artifacts from Rennes-le-Chateau are controversial and disputed. Do they rank alongside the huge crystal sphere and legendary gold bees from the tomb of Childeric I, son of Merovee, as genuine Merovingian treasures? Indeed, they could be the first century vessels upon which the dynasty was founded.
With the discovery of new clues in the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery, the Da Vinci Code is in the news again. Archaeologists have brought to light messages from the Abbe Beranger Sauniere and a new Templar tomb. The messages consist of a letter from Sauniere buried in a wine bottle and a coded map drawn by him, sealed in a small amber glass medicine bottle and buried in a cave. The little map pointed to a cave location of a small wooden chest, also buried in a cave, which contained first century artifacts from Jerusalem, including coins, an ancient glass anointing vessel, and a hand-turned clay cup said to be the cup of Jesus.
One of the paintings obtained by Sauniere at the Louvre after his discovery of coded parchments in a Visigothic pillar inside of his church was of the cave of St. Anthony. The image of a cave was one of the main clues to the location of the hidden treasures. The archaeologists also broke through to a Templar tomb, which is as yet unexcavated. Footage of the tomb is revealed in their new movie "Bloodline."
It is to the credit of Abbe Sauniere that the chest containing the Jerusalem artifacts remained buried for posterity and was not sold by him to collectors. The handwriting of the letter and map has been determined to be his. In the letter he states his heretical beliefs that the producer of the movie attributes to his discovery of mysterious caches that he found within the Rennes-le-Chateau church during his renovations.
It was not what Beranger Sauniere found, but who he met after he displayed his coded parchments in Paris, that shook his faith. His heretical statements of disbelief were inspired more by his new connections and by the local Cathar attitude than by any of his archaeological findings.
It was Catholic Rome that preserved the memory of the Resurrection and divinity of Christ. The Visigoths in southern France were Arian Christians - followers of Arius, an Alexandrian Gnostic. Alexandrian Gnosticism included influences from many world religions, Greek, Egyptian, and Persian and did not include the doctrines of Christ's divinity and resurrection. Rome fought against this heresy in the Gnostic Cathar stronghold of southern France where it had taken hold. This area is still known as "Cathar Country" and is home to the Catharama, a museum. These pagan Christians had once controlled Sauniere`s parish of Rennes-le-Chateau.
It was a Blanchefort family tombstone that Sauniere had defaced because the geometric map engraved upon it could have led to the legendary treasure. Bertrand de Blanchefort, the 4th Grand Master of the Knights Templar, came from a Cathar family, which was related by blood to the Merovingians. His descendants fought with the Cathars against the Catholic Albigensian Crusade 1209-1255 led by Simon de Monfort at the command of Pope Innocent III. DeMontfort eventually defeated the Cathar fort of Montsegur, which was built on a solitary peak in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Montsegur had seemed impenetrable due to the sheer rock face, which protected it. The ruined walls of the fortress still stand today; archaic goddess pentagrams are carved into the rocks from where it can be viewed.
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